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swered, “ I am willing, I am ready,” and in a few moments expired; which was about 9 o'clock, P. M. of Lord's day, Sept. 12, 1824, aged 47 years; leaving an afflicted widow and nine children to mourn their loss.
It is worthy of remark, concerning this good man, and should serve as a stimulus to other poor ministers of Christ, who labor under similar embarrassments, that we find him rising from obscurity, without learning, property, or influence : surmounting every obstacle, and, under the cultivation of Di. vine Grace, becoming obviously more useful in the Zion of God than most ministers of the present age who are possess. ed of vastly superior advantages. He was decidedly Calvin. istic in his doctrine, and salvation by grace was his theme. He possessed a warm heart, and his mind appeared engrossed by his subject. He frequently seemed to have access to the sinner's heart, over whose case he often wept. He could ease the pained heart, by applying the promises of the gospel ; and the children of God usually retired from the assem. bly, both comforted and edified. He possessed a happy talent to heal divisions among the people of God; and he might justly be called “ a repairer of breaches." He felt a tender solicitude for the welfare of Zion, and extended the hand of friendship to all the lovers of truth. He dearly prized the society and friendship of his ministering brethren, as the emotions which he manifested while with them fully testified. The circle of his acquaintance had become extensive, and he had many endeared friends. The natural ardor of his mind never seemed to abate; and it may truly be said, he did not " count his life dear unto himself, that he might fin. ish his course with joy."
In his death his family have lost an affectionate husband and a kind father ; the ministers of Christ one of their faithful fellow-laborers; the church of God an interesting preacher and bold defender of her faith ; the cause of mis. sions one of its most successful patrons ; and sinners one that “ cared for their souls.”
May the Lord enable us, who are the ministers of Christ, to copy the virtues of our departed brother. Like him may we live, and like him may we die.
Eld. STEPHEN PARSONS was born Sept. 5, 1748. As to his juvenile years we have no information ;* but he united with the Congregational church then called Separates, and soon commenced preaching the gospel. He was ordained to the work of the ministry Jan. 31, 1788, and was called to take the pastoral care of a church of that order in the city of Middletown, Conn., and labored with them successfully seven years. His mind had been often tried respecting the validity of infant baptism, but at this time, he gave the subject a thorough investigation, and it resulted in a full conviction that that sentiment was not warranted by the word of God. Accordingly, he was baptized Aug. 1794, by Eld. Peter P. Roots, and united with the Baptist church. Soon after a number of members of the same church to which he had administered followed his example, and wer baptized.
He continued his ministry in that vicinity, until 1796. In February of that year he visited Whitesboro, where previ. ously a Congregational church had been formed, and he bap. tized five of their members.t These, with two others, cove nanted together to maintain the public worship of God. Eld. Parsons visited them again in June following, and gave them fellowship as a church in gospel order. The next Lord's day he administered to them the Lord's supper. This was a precious season to their souls. Their number was seven. The September following he removed his family into Whitesboro, and settled as their pastor. The following year, ho, and the little church, united with the Otsego Association, and he joined in labor with the ministers already settled in this new country. His healthful influence was felt through. out the whole association.
* One anecdote we have thought of sufficient interest present the following note. When Eld. Parsons was about twenty-three years of age, he had agreed to attend a merry meeting of the youth, of which he was a manager. As he was returning home one evening previous, he had to cross a bridge on the way, and a thought came into his mind, that, if his horse should start while passing over the bridge, he should die in one month. His horse was very steady ; yet he trembled for fear the horse might be frightened. However, he came to the bridge, and the horse moved gently on, till he got almost over, when all at once he became terrified and started. His mind was therefore deeply impressed that he should die in one month. He began to reflect on his future state, and found himself not prepared to meet his God. His sins were set in order before him, and hell, he thought, must be his por. tion. He remained in this state of mind till the last day of the month, when he expected to die, and, with the rich man, to lift up his eyes in torment. But oh! what a day! Nothing but blackness and darkness were before him! But while he was looking for everlasting destruction, the Lord appeared in mercy; the shadow of death was turned into morning, and songs were given him in the night. His happy soul rejoiced in redeeming grace and infinite love. “He died," indeed, " unto sin, but was made alive unto God."
+ Eld. Caleb Douglass was one of the five,
He continued his ministry with the church in Whitesboro, with success, seven years, both in comforting and building up the saints in the faith of the gospel, and in the salvation of sinners. He labored much in the surrounding country in strengthening the feeble churches, and in other places where churches were not constituted, till the year 1803.
In that year he removed to Turin, where he was instrumental in raising up a church. He continued his labors in that place and the surrounding country, especially in Denmark. Here he finished his labors. After long and laborious exertions for the up-building of the glorious cause of the Redeemer in the world, he was summoned to attend his blessed Lord in his glorious palace above; and accordingly took his depart-, ure Jan. 6, 1820, in the 71st year of his age.
The circumstances of his death were as follows: he preached on Lord's day from 2 Sam. xviii. 34: “How long am I to live ?” He returned from meeting to his home in Denmark : his daughter proposed to send a boy to put up his horse ; but he objected, and went himself. It appears that he entered the barn, and having climbed upon the beams, fell from thence, and was taken up in such a situation as not to be able to give any account of this melancholy event, being deprived both of speech and reason. He languished until Thursday following, and then entered into his rest.
Eld. Parsons may be said to have been a most valuable and faithful minister of Jesus Christ; none in the country were superior to him. He was naturally retiring, and at times appeared gloomy. His countenance was grave, and the sound of his voice, though not loud, was solemn, his ar. ticulation distinct, and his arguments weighty. He would unfold the glories of the gospel to the astonishment and joy of the saints, and sinners would tremble while he reasoned
of righteousness, temperance, and a judgment to come. Thus fell one of the mighty in Israel ; but it is with pleasure we reflect, that, while we mourn here in dust for him, we believe, as a gem of the first magnitude, he is increasing the radian cy of the Redeemer's crown.
He was born in Athol, Mass., May 11, 1767, and was the oldest son of Dea. Abner Morton. At the age of thirteen, he was a subject of that deep conviction of sin, and those im. pressions of the Divine Spirit, which, in the more mature part of his life, he regarded as the commencement of a work of grace on his heart. Of this, however, at the time, he had not the evidence. When in his twenty-second year, the deep depravity of his heart was laid open to his view, beyond what he had ever before discovered, and he had an overwhelming sense of the vindictive justice of God. On the third day he suddenly rose from his bed, and went up stairs. His mother, with much anxiety, followed his steps, unperceived by him, until she discovered him on his knees in prayer.
She in dulged the hope that his deliverance was near. It was not, however, until the next day that he was brought out of darkness into the light of the gospel ; at which time he came out of his room, and his mother inquired of him how he felt. He replied, “ I am well both in body and soul. I have been un. der a great delusion, viewing it impossible for God to save so great a sinner as I am consistently with his justice. But now I see the fullness of the atonement of Christ. His blood cleanseth from all sin; that is sufficient for the chief of sin.
He said much on the greatness of the love of Christ, and on the manifestation of it to him. On taking up the Bi. ble, he opened to the 33d chapter of Ezekiel, where he read, “() son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me." The application was such to his mind, that it seemed to be a command from God to him to preach the gospel. He spent two days in going from house to house, warning and exhorting all that he met, and declaring to them what the Lord had done for his soul. He had little success, and returned home much disheartened. He said he thought he had done wrong. His father asked him if what he had said was not true. “O yes," he replied, " the word of God will stand, but I am not a suitable person to proclaim it.” He continued thus for several years, until he removed with his parents into Madison, in the State of New York. He was in Madison about two years, in inuch men. tal distress, when in 1799 he made a profession of religion. He was the first ever baptized in the place, and only about two months after the constitution of the church with which he united. The church immediately urged him to commence preaching, being satisfied that he was called of God to this work. In the mean time a meeting was appointed for a min. ister at a distance, and a large assembly came together; but he failed of coming. The attention of the assembly was turned
upon Mr. Morton to step forward and lead in worship. He thought he would read to them out of the scriptures, and shortly after he commenced he felt such a sense of his duty to preach, that he dared not decline the attempt. He spoke with great freedom and effect, to the astonishment of his hearers, and with abundant relief to his own soul. Here was the commencement of his ministerial labors, in which he afterwards manifested much delight.
From this time he was employed by the church in Madi. son, much to their edification and profit. On the 23d of June, 1802, he was ordained. The council, in whose fellowship he was set apart, consisted of Elds. Bacon, Roots, Hosmer, Parsons, and Butler. The following August he was married to Miss Mary Richardson, daughter of Dea. Jeremiah Rich. ardson, of Newton, Mass. She had been a member of the Baptist church in that place for several years. She was of great use to him through life, in assisting him in his trials and toils, and was truly an help-meet.
Eld. Morton labored with the church in Madison eleven years, during which time numbers were added to it, and he experienced days of prosperity, over against which God had set days of adversity. In his last visit to them, and when preaching to them for the last time, he addressed them in the language of the apostle : “ I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling."
When he resigned his pastoral charge of this church, he